CK3 Dev Diary #07 - Characters & Portraits

Greetings!

Today we’re taking a look at what makes up a character in CK3. As you already know, the game revolves around characters and all the things they get up to, so to make it interesting we have to make sure that they have as much personality as possible!

To start off; each character still has skills and traits, just like in CK2. Their skills determine how well they can do different things, a character will high Diplomacy will be well-liked, while one with high Martial will excel as a commander. The main source of these skills are traits, the foremost of which is the Personality Traits.

Unlike CK2, where personality traits were much like any other trait, we’ve decided to put more emphasis on the personality traits in CK3. In CK2 you could easily end up with 5-8 personality traits without much effort, but then what really defined you? It was hard to get a grip on who a character really was, something we’ve improved in CK3. Personality traits now have a massive effect on the behavior of each individual character, so when a character is Greedy you’ll really feel it. To emphasize this, characters tend to not have more than 3 personality traits so that you can at a quick glance tell who they are (other types of traits are of course still unlimited).

Personality_traits.png

Personality Trait icons. Can you guess which one is which?

We’ve also added a feature where a character's personality is summed up in two words, which is then displayed in their character view. This is very useful when, for example, assigning vassals or getting agents. A ‘Rapacious Blackguard’ might not make for the most loyal vassal, but quite a good agent, while an ‘Honorable Empath’ would be the opposite!

character_portraits_01.jpg


Prestige and Piety remain in CK3, though with a new element to them. In CK2, you accumulated prestige that you then spent on various things - this rarely made much sense, why would launching an invasion suddenly make everyone like you less, for example? Therefore we’ve decided to split the currency part of prestige/piety from the perception part. In CK3, all prestige and piety accumulated by a character will contribute towards their Level of Fame/Devotion. These have various effects, for example, your Level of Fame increases the opinion of all secular rulers (as it did in CK2), give your more Knights, and unlocks special interactions - such as invasions should you be Tribal. Your Level of Devotion increases the opinion of the clergy and allows you to declare better Holy Wars among other things. These levels range between 0-5, with 0 representing disgrace. Instead of only losing prestige when doing truly dishonorable things, such as breaking a truce, you now also lose Levels of Fame, making the whole thing more of a hard choice. Accumulated prestige and piety can be used for various things as a currency, just like in CK2, prestige being used for vassal interactions, decisions, and war, while piety is the primary resource used when interacting with the church.

Exalted.png


Before moving on to the Portraits themselves, I’d like to mention genetic traits! Traits such as Strong and Genius were much sought-after in CK2, and you often went out of your way to breed those traits into your direct line. In CK3 this is even more involved, with genetic traits having multiple levels that you can improve with successive generations (which can be sped up by inbreeding!), and there’s also more of them. Genetic traits will often have a visual effect on your portrait - the Beautiful line of traits will make your characters more-and-more symmetrical, for example. On the negative end of the spectrum, we have traits such as Ugly or Albino, which will reduce symmetry or alter your character's skin tone respectively (the Middle Ages were full of prejudice).

Now, without further ado, let's move on to the Portrait section, hosted by our very own portrait artist, Nils!

So, when it comes to the visual presentation of characters in the game, we've chosen to switch out the 2D "paperdoll" style portraits of CK2 for full animated 3D characters in CK3. While the portraits in CK2 undeniably have their charm, going 3D just gives us so many more possibilities for all kinds of dynamic features.

Every character has a DNA in which their appearance is defined. Each facial feature that we can control has its own gene. And there's a great number of those to give us a lot of variations and an endless amount of possible faces. For example, the nose alone has over 10 different parameters that define its shape. Compared to just one in CK2.

Another thing we wanted to change is how much of the character we display in the UI. This is, of course, the middle ages we are talking about, where a person's clothes are a more important indicator of who they are than even their facial features. So it made sense to show more of the body than just head and shoulders. How fancy and expensive a character’s clothing looks will give you as player information about their rank. The larger frame also allows us to show different animated poses, and as Alex mentioned above they give a hint of the character’s personality. Additionally, we can do more with body types as well. Characters have different heights (yes including dwarfism and gigantism) as well as different weights and body composition, something that is affected by their lifestyle and traits. So if your character is a gluttonous hedonist, chances are they will have a body rather on the stout side of things while if they are a legendary warrior their pecs and deltoids will also likely be of the legendary variety.

character_portraits_02.jpg


Other cool features that the 3D system allows us to do is seamless aging and disease overlays. Now you can see your toddler gradually change into an adult and eventually (barring any unforeseen incidents...) to an elderly 100-year old. Should your character, heavens forbid, catch a serious illness their appearance will reflect that with suitably repulsive skin texture overlays.

We will have a more in-depth look at the portraits in a future dev diary, so stay tuned for that!
 
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vandevere

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ShadyGuy_SuspiciousGoal

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You do know that societal notions of attractiveness change over time (as well as varying from person to person)?
Yep! For example round moon-like face was considered attractive in ancient China. I'm not demanding a change, but having physical traits tied to a certain trait would be very beneficial modding wise. Imagine someone with the Habsburg legendary bloodline having the iconic deformed jaw and so on. And for social attractiveness changes, wouldn't that be interesting to model something like that? Like in the 800s wide pelvis girl get + 10 opinion, and in 1200s bigger breasts got +20 opinions or something.
I don't know how hard it is internally to add. I guess if physical appearance are made to be hidden traits it'll work.
Edit: maybe add a field like "accompanied_traits = {}" is not very hard. Idk though.
 
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Olden Weiss

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Yep! For example round moon-like face was considered attractive in ancient China. I'm not demanding a change, but having physical traits tied to a certain trait would be very beneficial modding wise. Imagine someone with the Habsburg legendary bloodline having the iconic deformed jaw and so on. And for social attractiveness changes, wouldn't that be interesting to model something like that? Like in the 800s wide pelvis girl get + 10 opinion, and in 1200s bigger breasts got +20 opinions or something.
I don't know how hard it is internally to add. I guess if physical appearance are made to be hidden traits it'll work.
Edit: maybe add a field like "accompanied_traits = {}" is not very hard. Idk though.

I've heard - although I don't recall if this was confirmed, a rumor, or merely a musing - that the greater the degree of the Attractive trait in a character, the more symmetrical their features will be, and vice versa for Ugly.
 
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Ed Mike

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Hi Devs, will the physical traits be correlated with attractiveness? I just want to know if I can assign (through mod) certain physical traits to my character. For example, can I mod the attractive trait to only use a certain type of nose, mouth, and cheek structure. It's kinda weird seeing a rather unattractive character (portrait wise) to have the attractive trait. She already have -10 opinion from me just by looking at her face. (Jk, please don't take it wrong that I hate unattractive people)
Also, the fair (attractive) trait should be opposite of things like hunchback or harelip.

Something around those lines has been discussed a long time ago and, back in the day, it was mentioned that this opens up to "(race A) = ugly" mods and the like and we all know the internet enough that, yes, that would happen. I mean, as soon as they introduced "fat" as a trait, a discussion about "fat trait should cancel attractive" came up. I don't know about the opinion of the current developers at all and I do understand what you mean, but I'm just mentioning how it went last time this subject was brought up.

As for the attractive trait vs. harelip/hunchback/etc, my own headcanon on the subject is that a man with an amazing chin, gorgeous eyes, incrideble cheekbones and a nicely proportioned body but hareliped might not be as attractive, but since the traits are a mark of inheritable traits and not just a descriptor of the current person and since the traits are calculated in separate from one another, his chances of passing to the next generation any or all his positive features are not lessened because he migh also pass ahead his less attractive ones and vice-versa. It is not exactly the same, but in the same vein of why (unless "dormant traits" are a thing*) an attractive character should probably not loose his "attractive" trait if their entire face is mangled in battle. Because it didn't affect his chances of passing that trait.

*and if dormant traits are a thing, we have another problem in tracing who has those.
 

Alenarae118

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Hi Devs, will the physical traits be correlated with attractiveness? I just want to know if I can assign (through mod) certain physical traits to my character. For example, can I mod the attractive trait to only use a certain type of nose, mouth, and cheek structure. It's kinda weird seeing a rather unattractive character (portrait wise) to have the attractive trait. She already have -10 opinion from me just by looking at her face. (Jk, please don't take it wrong that I hate unattractive people)
Also, the fair (attractive) trait should be opposite of things like hunchback or harelip.
Well, characters don't have preset features to select from, but instead individual "DNA", that determines all of their physical traits, meaning their isn't any preset nose shapes, but instead various values that determine different parts of the nose, such as nostril height, nostril width, etc. for instance. At least that is what I think is the case, with what has been stated.

So unlike CK2 where you would only have maybe like 6 nose types to chose from, in CK3 theoretically the noses can be nearly infinite in terms of shape and that is just the noses. All features of the face can most likely be changed in shape in all sorts of ways and can be impacted further by traits, your character will gain weight if they have the gluttonous personality trait, their cheeks and nose will become flushed if they have the drunkard trait. They will gain scars and will be affected by disease and illness.

Now unto the shear scale of possibility that CK3 will provide for unique characters. This is no longer just addressing the quoted post and is just a kinda mini rant I want to get off my chest.

The possibilities for unique characters is most likely endless and that is just physical appearance, then their is the ~3 personality traits, the educational trait, lifestyle traits, coping mechanisms, both good and bad, congenital traits, and any other traits like, Pilgrim, Viking (I am pretty sure the Viking trait is a localization for the Norse culture for a trait called Raider), etc.

Then their is all of the lifestyle perks, across all 5 lifestyles, 3 perk trees each. The amount of variety that can provide on top of all the different traits will provide such a large range of variety. Then their is also the bloodlines with dynasty wide bonuses to your characters.

I honestly believe that CK3 will be so full of opportunities for unique characters and stories. I am really excited for Crusader Kings 3 and I am so anxious for the game to be released.

Okay mini rant over now.
 
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ShadyGuy_SuspiciousGoal

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Something around those lines has been discussed a long time ago and, back in the day, it was mentioned that this opens up to "(race A) = ugly" mods and the like and we all know the internet enough that, yes, that would happen. I mean, as soon as they introduced "fat" as a trait, a discussion about "fat trait should cancel attractive" came up. I don't know about the opinion of the current developers at all and I do understand what you mean, but I'm just mentioning how it went last time this subject was brought up.

As for the attractive trait vs. harelip/hunchback/etc, my own headcanon on the subject is that a man with an amazing chin, gorgeous eyes, incrideble cheekbones and a nicely proportioned body but hareliped might not be as attractive, but since the traits are a mark of inheritable traits and not just a descriptor of the current person and since the traits are calculated in separate from one another, his chances of passing to the next generation any or all his positive features are not lessened because he migh also pass ahead his less attractive ones and vice-versa. It is not exactly the same, but in the same vein of why (unless "dormant traits" are a thing*) an attractive character should probably not loose his "attractive" trait if their entire face is mangled in battle. Because it didn't affect his chances of passing that trait.

*and if dormant traits are a thing, we have another problem in tracing who has those.
Thanks for the reply. As for the concern about racism, did anybody bring up "race X opinion +10"? Then each race will have different things they find attractive.

I just want a way to associate some traits with other trait, as some sort of a meta-trait or a "struct" of traits. Purely for modding liberty.

My opinion is that we should not be the one limiting ourselves just because we want to stop the bad guys from doing something. There are all sort of mods out there and some of them are already pretty racist (elves vs orcs for example).
 
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I might be in the minority. But it seems to me, that making a sequel to a game that has dozens of forum posts complaining about pre-plague slow down due to courtier numbers, but now every person will also have to render a 3D visualization, is a bit odd. Especially considering that nobody was really complaining about the 2D portraits in the first place.

All of this unnecessary graphical glamor seems like it will only make the potential userbase even smaller, when many of CK2s players wont even be able to play anymore.
 
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Lordy's

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I might be in the minority. But it seems to me, that making a sequel to a game that has dozens of forum posts complaining about pre-plague slow down due to courtier numbers, but now every person will also have to render a 3D visualization, is a bit odd. Especially considering that nobody was really complaining about the 2D portraits in the first place.

All of this unnecessary graphical glamor seems like it will only make the potential userbase even smaller, when many of CK2s players wont even be able to play anymore.
Slow down due to the number of courtiers is entirely CPU bound and has almost nothing to do with the rendering of characters, which is for the most part handled by the GPU. Characters that you don't look at are not rendered, so the number of characters doesn't have anything to do with the load on the GPU. Please don't complain about things that you don't really know much about.

Also, CK2 Portraits were... not that great, lacked variety (especially without portrait packs!) and had too many different styles. Also mixed ethnicities weren't a thing. And 3D portraits certainly make the potential number of players larger, as its less niche.
 
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I might be in the minority. But it seems to me, that making a sequel to a game that has dozens of forum posts complaining about pre-plague slow down due to courtier numbers, but now every person will also have to render a 3D visualization, is a bit odd. Especially considering that nobody was really complaining about the 2D portraits in the first place.
The performance barrier associated with pre-plague slowdown due to courtier numbers is irrelevant to the question of 3D visualization, because only the characters who are being displayed will be 3D-rendered.

The pre-plague slowdown is because every courtier that exists increases the computational cost of the game itself.

Every courtier has prestige, gold, and piety counters that tick up (or down) monthly.
Every courtier is able to start plots.
Every courtier is able to die.
Every courtier is potentially able to be recruited to plots against other members of the same court.
Every courtier can be targeted by events.

etc.
All of this unnecessary graphical glamor seems like it will only make the potential userbase even smaller, when many of CK2s players wont even be able to play anymore.
The minimum spec for CK3 on Windows and Linux is basically a decent-to-good 2010 desktop gaming PC. The recommended spec is an entry-level 2019 desktop gaming PC.

The minimum spec for Mac feels weirdly high, but I understand there are actual reasons for that. (Whether they're good reasons is a separate question.)
 
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Alenarae118

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Can we expect a character editor with custom dynasties anytime in the future, seeing how that was one of the most enjoyable things about CK2? In all honesty it seems odd that it wasn't included at launch.
They have confirmed a Custom Ruler Designer will come in the future as part of a free update, they announced that in their first livestream they did.